Originally published in the Winter + Spring 2019 issue.
Bone broth is the newest health trend brewing up quite the buzz. Unlike the buzz from your morning long shot double espresso or perhaps your hand crafted, muddled old fashioned, this particular buzz resonates within your core, leaving you glowing from the inside out. The reason is simple and can be explained in two words: gut health.
Nearly your entire immune system is located in the gut, making gut health a primary concern when considering optimal health. Gut health is defined as a healthy balance of bacteria, or microbiome, and fungi, or mycobiome, in the gut as well as a healed and sealed gut lining.
One of the best ways to heal the gut lining is through nourishing and nutrient-dense bone broth as it has been proven to help reduce inflammation, often thought to be the root of many diseases. Bone broth is full of nutrients like collagen and cartilage which aids in repairing sore muscles and overall body aches and pains. In fact, many star athletes like Tom Brady and Kobe Bryant have reported consuming broth as a means of healing from sports injuries. I’m convinced bone broth is the newest superfood that everyone should incorporate into their daily routine.
The same nutrients that help maintain skeletal structure and facilitate fascia repair also aid in restoring and rebuilding the gut lining. Leaky gut, a term commonly used to describe a permeable gut lining, allows undigested foods and toxins to seep into the bloodstream. This has been linked to countless illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and autoimmune conditions, to name a few. Amino acids like L-glutamine, an abundant protein in bone broth, can be helpful in sealing the tight junctions of the gut lining, ultimately reversing symptoms of leaky gut.
Bone broth contains countless vitamins and minerals which not only help in restoring nutrient deficiencies, but are also essential for proper hydration. In fact, many nutrient deficiencies are a result of dehydration. Proper hydration is dependent on minerals, or electrolytes, so that water can properly assimilate into the body. Consuming bone broth throughout the day is an excellent way to ensure proper hydration and replenish vitamins and minerals.
Consuming bone broth throughout the day is an excellent way to ensure proper hydration and replenish vitamins and minerals.
Among other health benefits, bone broth supports digestion by boosting digestive enzymes which are essential in properly breaking down our foods. It also helps open elimination pathways by facilitating detoxification. Broth even helps in promoting a healthy metabolism!
It is evident that bone broth has many health benefits, but what about vegans and vegetarians — are there any bone broth options for them? And does a bone broth alternative still maintain the same healing benefits? This is one of the most common questions I am asked, and the answer is yes; however, the nutrition profile will vary depending on ingredients.
With a vegan broth, I recommend choosing the most nutritious vegetables you can find, especially those high in nutrients that heal the gut lining. For instance, mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins, fiber and even protein! They are also high in antioxidants and have been said to fight against certain bacteria strains linked to dysfunction of the gut, making them an excellent ingredient in a broth.
One of the least prevalent nutrients in a vegan bone broth is collagen, or the proteins that help heal the gut lining. As a replacement, I recommend opting for vegetables that are high in L-glutamine, like carrots, cabbage, beets and celery. L-glutamine is a building block of protein that has been said to aid in reducing intestinal inflammation, ultimately aiding in healing the gut lining. Miso is also an excellent addition to a broth because not only is it fermented and populates the gut with beneficial bacteria, but it also is a great source of L-glutamine as well.
Regardless of the type of broth you decide to make, there are countless health benefits to be consumed with both options. It is no surprise why bone broth has found its way back into our daily routines so that we can work on healing from the inside out.
- 1 chicken carcass or whole chicken (thawed or frozen)
- 6 Carrots, chopped
- 4 Celery Stalks, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped, skins on
- 1 small sweet potato, chopped
- 6 Black Peppercorns
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Option to add a splash of apple cider vinegar
- Add all ingredients to slow cooker and fill with filtered water about 2-inches from top.
- Cook on low for 24-42 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Strain and store in air-tight containers or Mason jars. Generally stays fresh for about a week or frozen for a year. You can also freeze in ice cube trays and pop a few whenever you need!
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, quartered, skins on
- 1 red onion, quartered, skins on
- 6-8 garlic cloves, mashed and skins on
- 4-6 carrots, roughly chopped
- 4-6 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 large sweet potato, coarsely chopped
- 1 head of bok choy, halved
- 1/2c shiitake mushrooms
- 6 slices of ginger (or about 1-inch cut)
- 1 small jalepeno, sliced (or add a few slices to taste)
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- 1/4c wakame seaweed
- 1/4c kombu (or about 4 slices)
- 1 TBS oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3-4 bay leaves
- Add all ingredients to a stockpot or slow cooker.
- Cover with filtered water until about 2-inched from top of pot.
- Bring to boil then reduce to simmer for 24-48 hours, stirring occasionally.